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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 31, 2012 3:30pm-4:30pm EST

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quorum call:
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mr. lieberman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. lieberman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. lieberman: i thank the chair. mr. president, i have come to the floor to express my own sense of encouragement about the
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statements made this afternoon by president obama and senator mcconnell, which indicate that the negotiations to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff are making progress. and we're not there yet, but they're making progress. and i'm really encouraged by that. i've heard over the last couple of days a familiar phrase invoked many times, and it is that "no deal is better than a bad deal." and i suppose it's often true that no deal is better than a bad deal, but in the case of the fiscal cliff, no deal is the worst deal because the government will go over the fiscal cliff and will take almost every american with us.
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almost every family that pays taxes now will pay higher taxes. people's jobs will immediately be put in jeopardy, unemployment compensation will end for more than 2 million people, our defenses will be decimated by cuts that will put us in a position of accepting really unacceptable risks to our security, title 1 programs of education for low-income children will be cut dramatically, most people, including the congressional budget office, our own congressional budget office, say that the combination of tax increases along with the decreased spending required under the budget control act will push our economy back into recession in the new year. so i don't agree that no deal is
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better than a bad deal. in this case, i repeat, no deal is the worst deal because it allows our country to go over the fiscal cliff and really hurts almost every american family in our country, in our economy, as a whole. this shouldn't be a surprise to us. it's not as if, if i could use the metaphor, that congress was going along in a bus and -- on a ride through the country and suddenly came to the end of the road and there was a cliff. this shouldn't be a surprise to us. we -- we -- we created this cliff ourselves a year and a half ago when we adopted the budget control act. and we created it for a very good reason: because we knew that we had proven ourselves incapable of
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making the compromises that were necessary to achieve the long-term bipartisan debt-reduction program that america desperately needs. we're over $16.4 trillion in debt. i'm in my last days as a u.s. senator. if you'd told me when i started that we'd be $16 trillion in debt, i wouldn't have believed it. frankly, if you told me just a dozen years ago at the end of the clinton administration when we were in surplus that we could possibly be $16 trillion in de debt, i would have thought -- well, i would have thought you were not reality-tested. but here we are, and most everybody knows that the way we're going to get out of this is with a combination of tough medicine. i call it tough love.
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we're going to have to reduce spend, and we can't do it all from discretionary spending. and the budget control act that we adopted last summer -- that is, the sum o summer of 2011 --s it all from discretionary spending. what's discretionary spending? it's different from entitlement spending -- medicare, medicaid, et cetera. it's what most people think of as the government. it's education programs, it's environmental protection, it's social service programs, it's against, it's homeland security, it's law enforcement. that's about a third of our budget. and it's not the part of the budget that's driving this -- it's not a part of the spending budget that's driving the deficit and debt much that's being driven by the growth in entitlements, which are becoming particularly for a good reason, which is that the american people are living longer, therefore taking much more money
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out of programs like medicare than they put in, and i suppose for reasons that are not so good, which is the cost of health care continues to go up. so we proved ourselves incapable of dealing with this crisis as part of the normal process of compromise, and so we created this cliff which was intentionally made so harmful that our assumption was that we would not allow ourselves to go over the cliff. because it would be so hurtful. and, again, that's why i say no deal, in this case, is not better than a bad deal. no deal is the worst deal because it means we go over the cliff. why isual thi is all this happe? for a lot of reasons. but one is that there are groups within both great political
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parties who are defending the status quo, who don't want the situation as it exists now, which has created this $16.5 trillion of debt, to change. but we can't go on this way because if we do -- we already are putting an enormous burden on generations of americans to follow in paying off the debt that we have incurred. but we're also coming to a point, if we don't do something soon, where the choices that we're going to have to begin to pay off the debt are going to be really hurtful to our great country, which is enormous tax increases, enormous spending cuts, like the ones in the fiscal cliff proposal or, at worse, the monetizing of the debt, the -- a drop in the value of the dollar, and all the
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harmful effects that that will have on our economy and our country. so, we come -- so, here we are december 31, not only the eve of a new year, which we hope and pray will be a great one for our country and everyone who lives in it, but a few hours away from letting our country go over the cliff. and we can't let it happen, and that's why i'm so encouraged that these bipartisan negotiations will produce -- are looking like they'll produce a bipartisan agreement which hopefully will come before the senate sometime this evening. this is not -- this will not be the comprehensive, bipartisan long-term debt agreement that we created the cliff to encourage. this will not be the bipartisan
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long-term debt reduction agreement that this country needs. so smuch going -- beginning to turn right in our economy. how's -- so much is going -- beginning to turn right in our economy. housing is doing so much better. unemployment is down. you see manufacturing picking up again. the big problem the american economy has is right here in washington and our inability to get together across party lines to bring our country back into fiscal balance and to show the country and the world that we have a political system here that is capable of fixing our problems. bob -- earlier this year, bob carr, foreign minister of australia -- one of our greatest allies in the world -- said -- and i quote -- that "the united states is one budget deal away from restoring its global
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preeminence." the u.s. is one budget deal away from restoring its global preeminence, perhaps because some -- i'm so proud of this country, i'd say we're one budget deal away from restoring our global dominance for a considerable number of years. unfortunately, after i hope and pray we adopt the result of the negotiations going on now and avoid the fiscal cliff, we'll still be one grand bargain, budget deal away from restoring our -- our global preeminence. that work has to be done. but at least we will have avoided the cliff. mr. president, by a twist of fate, the occupant of the chair is my colleague and friend, the senator from connecticut, so like -- you've probably seen these numbers, but just to bring it home in one state, what will be the impact if we go over --
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if we allow the country to go over the fiscal cliff. in connecticut, 1.4 million middle-class families will see their federal income taxes increase. almost a million and a half families. if the middle-class tax cuts are allowed to expire on january 1, a median-income connecticut family -- now, i know this -- the median in connecticut is higher than it is in most other states, but this number's true for any family making this amount of money, it makes an important point. a family of four earning $86,000 a year happens to be the immediatmedianfamily income in , but that family, which i think would be considered median just about everywhere, middle income just about everywhere, would see its federal income taxes rise by $2,200. that's a lot of money for a family of four paying the mortgage, paying for food, paying probably some for
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education of their children, maybe a college. too much. another connecticut number. 680,000 additional connecticut taxpayers will be hit by the alternative minimum tax. amazing. when you think about that, those are going to be middle-class families that will be hit by that. 120,000 connecticut taxpayers will no longer get a tuition tax credit to help pay for college because that, too, will expire if we don't do something about it. 340,000 connecticut families raising children will see an average tax increase of $1,000 as they lose access to the child tax credit. and the earned income tax credit -- something adopted by -- during the 1990's, which i was proud to be part of, is also set to expire on january 1 and
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that will -- and that's for, what i'd say lower -- perhaps working families, some might call them lower middle income -- gives them a break that they need. in the most recent year for which we have numbers, almost 43,000 connecticut working families received really important benefits from the earned income tax credit, and they would lose it. now, the national numbers are 2.1 million people long-term unemployed will see their unemployment checks end. we're setting them adrift. in connecticut, that means 42,938 connecticut working -- i'm sorry. 33,600 connecticut individuals will lose unemployment benefits under the emergency unemployment compensation program. i met with a group of these
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folks recently and i know there are some -- a lot of these people are white-collar people who -- and some of them are middle or in their middle years of life, lost their jobs in companies that were hit by the recession. they're having an impossible time finding new employment. and believe me, they are working so hard to try to -- to try to get it. 33,600 of them would be set adrift without unemployment benefits if we go over the fiscal cliff. one estimate by the national economic council is that there would be $2.5 billion less in consumer spending in connecticut and that's basically because tax hikes will take a bite out of middle-class budgets and, frankly, some people will lose their jobs. i'm afraid will lose their jobs in many industries, including the defense industry, which
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remains a foundation, as the occupant of the chair knows, of our state's economy. the n.e.c. also estimates that we would have 1.1% slower growth in the connecticut economy with the attendant harmful results of that. and i could go on and on. title 1 would be forced to serve about 9,300 fewer connecticut children. we'd get $5.6 million less in funding, low-income energy assistance payments to people in our state who heat with oil, and on and on. this is all my way of coming back to the -- to the point i made at the beginning and -- and why i'm encouraged by the statements president obama and senator mcconnell have made this afternoon, that we're close to an agreement, close to a deal. i don't agree, i say again, that no deal is better than a bad
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deal. in this case of the fiscal cliff, no deal is the worst deal possible for the american people. we passed the time when we're going to -- before tonight, negotiate the comprehensive, bipartisan debt-reduction agreement that our country desperately needs. the least we can do is protect the constituents who were good enough to send us here from the worst possible result, which is that we let the country go over the cliff, we -- we prove that to everybody, including people around the world who depend on american strength and watch us, that our political system has become absolutely dysfunctional. so i hope the negotiations going on now end with an agreement and i hope that we will pass it with a bipartisan majority, strong bipartisan majority in the senate and the house.
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and i certainly will support it from all that i hear about it myself. i thank the chair, and i yield the floor. mr. lieberman: mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: first of all, i want to acknowledge and thank my friend, senator lieberman, from connecticut. the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. coats: i'm sorry. i didn't realize we were in a quorum call. i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be vitiated.
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the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. coats: mr. president, i want to thank my longtime friend -- who i hate to see leave this body -- senator lieberman from connecticut, for his remarks. i didn't have an opportunity to speak after he gave his farewell remarks. i do not to say before i gave into the reason why i came down here -- i'm happy to see him here so i can say this -- it has been a joy to serve with him over the years. i'm in my second life here in the united states senate, and during my first life we served together on the armed services committee. we did a number of initiatives together which i was proud to be associated with him that i believe strengthened our national economy and our security team around the world. but beyond it -- and we worked on school vouchers for d.c. and a number of other initiatives affecting the future of our military and other issues that
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were of importance to us. most importantly from my standpoint, we worked together to bring values that each of us cherish based on our faith. joe's jewish faith and my christian faith. we discovered on a trip to iraq just after desert storm that we, in talking to each other, shared our respective faith and how it affected our lives, how it affected our families and how it helped us form decisions that we make. and, of course, being -- coming from two different parties, we didn't find agreement everything on but we found agreement on a number of things, and particularly those things where we shared common values, where our faiths shared common values and where individually we shared those values. and under the direction of a
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rabbi from chicago, we together cochaired the center for jewish and christian values, bringing together jewish and christians to talk about what they had in common and what values we could work together on for the betterment of our country, for the betterment of our society. too often we bring groups together of different persuasions to discuss and argue, debate the differences. this was different because we brought these groups together, distinguished leaders of both sides, prominent leaders from both sides, to set aside those differences and work to find those values that we had in common. and it was a joy to -- to participate in -- in that with senator lieberman and to cochair that. we've remained friends. his contributions to our count country, not just representing his state but representing america around the world, will
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long be remembered and will have great impact and effect. and so we are losing a real talent, we're losing a real gentleman. we're losing someone whose example of how he conducts himself is an example for all of us of how we ought to conduct ourselves, and we don't always do that. joe lieberman has left a lasting impression on me and i know a number of other of our colleagues on both sides of this aisle and he'll be sorely missed. one thing i'm happy about is that we will continue a lifelong friendship, and i'm looking forward to many, many more opportunities with senator lieberman to work on matters of interest but in order to enjoy a continued sharing of the commonnalities of our judeo-christian faiths. mr. president, i came to the floor before i heard the announcement that apparently we
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have -- we're closing in, thankfully, on something as yet which i don't have all the details of yet so i can't just simply say, hooray, this is exactly what we ought to do. i think neither side is going to be able to say, "this is exactly what we wanted to do." but in recognition of the fact that we are careening now, hours are ticking, hours away from a devastating impact on americans all across the country, every taxpayer. senator lieberman announced and gave statistics relative to the impact on the average family in his state, and the same is true for indiana and all 50 of our states. to impose the massive tax increases which will occur on every taxpayer at midnight tonight without addressing that. it's just simply unacceptable.
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and while it's hard for a lot of us to swallow how little we did in addressing the larger fiscal issue in this country, but in order to get past this imposed deadline on something i did not vote for, did not support because i could see it coming to this end and it was absolutely the wrong way to legislate and the wrong way to govern pushing us toward this fiscal cliff, laying that dark cloud of uncertainty over every business in america, every household in america, everyone who had any interest in investing or was trying to plan for the future kept saying i can't make a decision, i can't make plans. i don't know what you're going to do. are we going to go over the cliff? are my taxes going to rise? are regulations going to increase? what is the future? and even if the future is uncertain, if it's the -- excuse me. even if it remains uncertain, i
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can't plan ahead. if it's bad certainty, i can work around it. i might not like it but i can make the adjustments necessary. so we have a stagnant economy as a result of all of this. and so i'm hoping that when we learn the details of what we finally arrived at -- which we will be learning very, very shortly -- i am hoping that it's something that we can swallow hard and accept knowing, knowing that this fiscal cliff is nothing compared to the real fiscal cliff. the real fiscal cliff is the continued excessive borrowing and spending of over a trillion dollars a year that is driving this country into a serious fiscal situation for the future. and it's not just something our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay for years down the line. it's something we are all paying for now. it's something that is keeping
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people from getting back to work, keeping companies from expanding. we and future generations will address what i believe any american who is paying any attention whatsoever, and everyone certainly in this body and our corresponding house down the hall understands whether you are a republican or democrat, liberal or conservative, it's simple math. it's not algebra, it's not sal includes. it's third grade math. you cannot raise $2.2 trillion a year and spend $3.5 trillion or $3.4 trillion. literally, we have added now approaching $6 trillion in just the last four years, and it's unsustainable. it's going to hurt everybody and it's hurting our economy right now. that's the real cliff. that's the cliff that now we have to continue to address. that's the cliff that we were hoping to address with the
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leverage of this situation. we're coming up with something very, very sure. i would ask, mr. president, i didn't realize that we were under a time limitation. are we under a time limitation? i would ask unanimous consent for just -- the presiding officer: you have two minutes left, sir. a senator: i saw some angst. i thought my time was up. let me say this to my colleagues, many who watched the president's press conference -- no, it wasn't a press conference. the president's speech. thought we were seeing a rerun of something that took place in the campaign. we have all been watching a lot of football. it reminded me of taunting that goes on when somebody on the other team stops you cold,
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stands over you and taunts. it got so bad, the nfl now has made it a penalty and they throw the flag. it's not something we would expect out of the leader of if free nation. it's not statesmanship, it's not leadership. it's in your face. it was dismissive, it was insulting, belittling and in the end it was sad. now, the natural reaction is push back, get revenge. that's not where we need to be. we need to set this aside. it's like the coach tapping us on the shoulder pad and saying what was done speaks for itself. don't stoop to that level. mr. coats: so we need to set that aside and go forward in the interest of america and the
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families and the people that we represent in our states and look at this very carefully, and every one of us is going to say we haven't begun to address the spending, we haven't begun to address what we need to do. that has to be our charge in 2013 relentlessly. and i would say, mr. president, i think probably people on the other side of the aisle were embarrassed also by that speech. it was a campaign speech and the campaigns are over. the president doesn't need to run for office anymore. it's time to lead. and so let's all get together. we have been working together -- i would ask unanimous consent for one more minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: i want to say this. to make a laughter out of this, to ridicule it, it addresses all of us because i have been working with senators across the aisle and they have been working with us. many of us, we all take this very, very seriously. this is not a joke. this is not something to make fun at. this is not something to politicize. this is something to rise above
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politics and do what is right for the future of america, even though it's difficult because it's not doing what many of us would like to do. but we have been working together, democrats and republicans, and i can name dozens of democrats that think this is a serious matter that have been working hard for the last two years to try to address it, as frustrated as we are on our side. so let's understand that this is not a game. this is the real thing, and let's work together to do what we can do and then continue to address the real issue as we go forward in 2013. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: i thank the president for yielding. let me first of all join my colleague from indiana in expressing my concern about where we are on taxes and spending and my hope that we get somewhere and get somewhere quickly. we have certainly brought this down to the last moment. many people on this floor for
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months have talked about the importance of certainty as it relates to our economy moving forward, of certainty as it relates to family farms and small businesses whether they can stay in the next generation of that family or not, and i hope we can achieve those things in the next coming hours as we finish this day and whatever it takes to create that level of certainty at the highest possible levels of how it impacts american individuals and families will be important. the kinds of things that we're hearing about the agreement that we might be able to go forward generally sound like that they for most americans solve problems that have been out there now for a decade. temporary tax policies, even tax policies that last for a decade, particularly when they relate to things like the inheritance tax
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or the death tax create problems that can be solved by just simply driving that place in the tax code and saying this is what our policies are going to look like and here's why they make sense for the american people and hopefully we get there. i came to the floor today, though, to join my colleague, senator landrieu from -- from louisiana to talk about russian adoptions and the decision by the russian dumas and the president, president putin to sign a law that includes a provision that bans adoption of russian children by american families, and this ban would go into effect, mr. president, tomorrow, tomorrow, a ban that would go into effect tomorrow with four dozen american families in the process of bringing a child home from
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russia. my wife abby and i adopted our son charlie from russia a number of years ago now. after visits to russia and as we were leaving the courthouse the day that our -- the court procedures were accomplished, we were in the car with people who had helped us with that adoption who represented an organization here in the united states, in this case the gladney organization in texas, and they got a call that four of their fellow organizations had just been decertified in russia, and they were decertified for some technical reason as their papers regarding all of the adoptions they had done were reviewed, and at least one error was found in one paper somewhere. mr. president, over the course of the next 12 months as every
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single agency came up -- and this is about six years ago -- as every single agency came up for review, every one of them had a problem that wound up with them being disqualified. at the end of that year, there wasn't a single american organization that could be helpful to an american family with a russian adoption because that was the policy the government decided at that time. they were going to somehow penalize american families who wanted to adopt russian kids in ways that made that virtually impossible, and at that time, mr. president, there were families who had met a child, who had bonded with that child, who had taken pictures home, who talked to doctors in russia and the united states, who had done everything you needed to do, who had even gotten ready to go to court. i think at that point if you had gone to court, you probably took your child home with you, not the case right now, but they all
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were caught in a situation where in some cases it was two or three more years before that adoption was allowed to be completed if it was ever allowed to be completed. now, the russian government has decided once again to use russian kids in orphanages as political pawns to help create some international dispute with the united states. this is not behavior that is worthy of the credit that frankly we just gave the russians whenever we entered into a trade agreement that said we won't accept you further into the relationships we have. by the way, i have talked to parents in the last few days who have adopted children from russia, and these are parents who, like every one of us in this room right now on the floor
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of the senate, grew up in a time when the soviet union was seen as a great adversary, but suddenly the bonding that occurs between our two countries because of this opportunity for russian kids to become american kids made a big difference in the way that americans looked at russians and the way that russians looked at americans, but this is a difference somehow the russian government wants to do away with as they take offense because we appropriately, i think, put in the russian trade agreement penalties for people who were involved in the imprisonment and death of the russian attorney sergei magnitsky in 2009. we were pretty specific about the narrow group this applied to
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. they are very specific about the 110,000 kids in orphanages in russia today that couldn't be adopted by american families because they have decided to use these kids as a political tool. it is the wrong thing to do. russia and the united states have had a tradition now that goes back to the end of the cold war of working together to find permanent homes for children without parents in our country. as recently as november of last year, november 1 of last year, we signed a bilateral agreement to strengthen the procedural safeguards for this process so that families that got involved in this process wouldn't get way down the line or get into the line at all and find out no, you're not going to be able to let this happen.
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we have one family in st. louis that has adopted, have gone to court, have been to russia multiple times. the court has said this -- you are now the adoptive parents, the russian court of this child, but under the new requirement, you have to wait another 30 days before you can come back and take this child home and now the russian government says you can never take this child home. that's totally, mr. president, unacceptable. last week senator landrieu and i along with a dozen, at least a dozen other senators, sent a letter to president putin urging him not to violate the agreement by signing the law and, mr. president, i'd like to submit that letter into the record without objection. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: and he signed the law anyway. senator landrieu and i are going
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to have a resolution that she's going to talk about asking not only that this position be reversed but that immediately we do whatever is necessary to unite these families that have already bonded with russian children who are in orphanages in russia. i talked to a number of parents just yesterday, bob and sandy davis in st. louis have been very involved in efforts for adopting children from russia and the ukraine. i talked to a young man this morning, sergei quincy from branson who is 22 who was adopted by the quincys in franson when he was 14, 14, he comes to the united states, doesn't speak any english, starts the ninth grade, learns english, at 22 he's now happily
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married with a couple of young children, and he's -- he told me, he said that the moment of his adoption was the moment that made his dreams possible. in a bad family situation, institutionalized with his brother and sister in three different orphanages and the moment of his adoption and his brother was adopted by the same family who didn't know about his sister, made this possible. i talked to senator john lamping in missouri who adopted a son who is now 14, who had never gone to school. when he was adopted at eight or nine years old, had never been to school anywhere. i would hope, mr. president, that the senate speaks strongly, that we work as effectively as we can with
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russian representatives in this country to help them right this wrong. the immediate and unbelievable wrong for almost 50 families who know the child that they are about to bring into their family and emotionally and psychologically already have and --. the presiding officer: time has expired. mr. blunt: 30 seconds, mr. president. and for all the kids in russia, the country that is number three in foreign adoptions for the united states, all of those kids who are likely to spend their growing-up years in an orphanage and at 15 or 16 be put out of that orphanage with no support system while there are families in the united states of america thapt to make -- thapt to make them part of their family. and i'd like to close by saying
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that i continue to appreciate the great leadership on all these adoption issues senator landrieu has shown and look forward to working with her and others as we try to help right this tragic wrong. and i would be glad to yield to my good friend from louisiana. the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. i am proud to join my friend, the senator from missouri, on the floor to add voice to this travesty that has recently occurred. the senator from missouri described the situation accurately, that a country that claims to be a powerful nation on the earth has decided to take powerful action against the weakest, most vulnerable individuals on the earth. and those are children without
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families. it makes no sense whatsoever for the country of russia to take the action that they did, because they're in a disagreement with us here in america, and maybe others around the world, about human rights violations regarding adults. the russian government in front of the whole world has taken that out, their anger and frustration, on their own children. their own children, who are orphans, their own children who are sick, their own children who in some cases are disabled. it makes no sense in the world. i was trying to thank, the senator from missouri, what would ever possess the united states of america or any country to take their anger and frustrations out on children. and that's what the duma did.
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and so they are hurting their own children and we would like to urge them strongly in this resolution, which i'm going to submit for its immediate consideration on my behalf and senator blunt and senator inhofe, we would like to ask the russian government to please reconsider. there might be other actions they could take to make it clear that they're unhappy with some things that we've done, but, you know, damning are children should not be one of them, causing children to not have an opportunity for a family or an education or health care or enough food, and to please reconsider it -- be considerate of their needs. now, the 50 or so families that are in the very end of the process, we also want to ask the government to understand that just as birth parents
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anticipate the birth of their child, adoptive parents anticipate the coming, that union into their family, and most importantly the child, many of these children, mr. president, are not infants. some of them are. but some of them are older children who know that they are about to be adopted, who understand that a mother or a father have already agreed to take them to the united states. it's going to crush their hopes and their dreams and their spirit. so we're hoping that the russian government will reconsider. this resolution, i hope we will be joined by our colleagues in a strong vote of support, and i know with the senator from missouri he and i will continue to work in every way we can to see if we can find a better resolution. but there are a couple of other things i want to say about this quickly. i want everyone to be clear that in the united states of america -- and i'm very proud
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of our country in this regard -- we adopt over 100,000 children a year. we're -- with 350 million people plus, but we adopt 100,000 children. most of those children, mr. president, are american children adopted by american parents. children who have lost their parents, children who have been abandoned by their parents, children who have been grossly abandoned or neglected by their parents and the courts have stepped in and terminated those rights and we immediately find relatives or people in the community to adopt because we believe, americans and many people around the world, that children shouldn't raise themselves. children, every child, belongs in a family, in a permanent, loving, supportive, protective family. and it's our job as a government and our job as the faith-based community and our responsibility as the community to make sure there is no childless parent --
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i mean parentless child in the world. and so, you know, we work very hard not just government to government, but in the churches, in the faith-based communities, working with nonprofit organizations, to make the rules and regulations and systems strong to protect children. also to protect fragile families from disintegrating, reconnecting children to families, trying our very best to do that. and we want to work with russia to strengthen their internal child protection system. we work on strengthening ours every day. it's not perfect but it's one of the best in the world. we still make terrible mistakes. but we do want to continue to work to improve our child welfare system. but adoption, both domestic and international, kin sieve adoption included, is a very important tool of child protection. and we want to do a better job in the united states. we want to continue to keep avenues of adoption open for
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children from russia, from china, from romania, etc. people may be wondering, senator, you're so bold about speaking about this, do children from america, are children from america adopted overseas? the answer is yes. not many, but under the international treaties of the rights of the child to a family, we need to be open to have american children if they can't find an adoptive home here, to be able to go to other countries. but the most important thing is to know that americans step up every day to adopt american children, both infants, teenagers, and even i've known of adoptions of children that were 22 and 23 years old. when are you ever too old to need a mother and a father? but what the action that the russian duma has taken is -- it's a travesty and it's incomprehensible that any government could would take their anger out on another another country against the children of their own country.
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we hope they will reconsider. we hope the people of russia will rise up and tell their government absolutely not, take your anger out in another way, not on our own children and allow these adoptions to be processed. so i want to submit this resolution and, mr. president, while i have the floor i also want to submit three resolutions on behalf of some outstanding citizens. it will take me 30 seconds to do this. one on behalf of justice katharine kitty kimball who is requiring as chief justice of the supreme court after an outstanding career and wanted to recognize her by this resolution. i ask unanimous consent it be submitted to the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. landrieu: secondly, a tribute to bern it johnson who is the incoming supreme court justice, again achieving that after an extraordinary career, and just gaining that spot on
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our supreme court. i'd like to submit it without objection. the presiding officer: the resolution will be received and appropriately referred. ms. landrieu: and secondly -- i mean lastly, mr. president, recognizing ms. leah chase, who is going to be 90 years old an outstanding citizen of new orleans, a renowned citizen of our state, and city, and known as the queen of creole quizine. she -- cuisine. we wanted the senate to congratulate her on that milestone and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the resolution will be received and properly referred. the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. tonight as we -- today i should say as we confront a whole range of difficult issues at the end of this year and at the end of the congress, we should also be reminded that we have fighting men and women serving for us all around the world. we think especially tonight of
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those serving in afghanistan, and those who served part of that time in iraq. at various times we've come to the floor and recited the chaims of those who were killed -- names of those killed in action and tonight i'm i'm joined by my colleague, senator tom to read -- toomey who read the names of those who as lincoln said gave their last full measure of devotion to their country, those killed in action in afghanistan over parts of 2011 and 2012. i'll turn and yield the floor to my colleague, senator toomey. the presiding officer: the junior senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to thank my colleague, the senior senator from pennsylvania for organizing this brief tribute that is so much deserved by the men and women that we're acknowledging today. i want to begin my bye extending my deepest condolences to the families, to the friends,
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loved ones of these pennsylvania heroes that we're going to acknowledge this evening. in the lives that our service members led and the cause for which they died, these folks represent all that's great about america. many enlisted right after graduating from high school, and during those really tough and grueling days and weeks in basic training they probably never heard of places like anbar province in iraq, the tangi valley of afghanistan or other areas in those nations where they fought and ended up dying for our country. these pennsylvanians join a long line of soldiers and sailors and airmen and coast guard members who have given the supreme sacrifice to their country, a line that extends well back, and in the latter part of the 20th century includes world war ii, the korean war and


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